Men.

I’m still in trial but something has been nagging at my mind today.

It’s this whole thing with the secret service and all the corruption/prostitutes/cover-ups/etc. Also last night’s Daily Show which mentioned again Anthony Weiner, John Edwards, and various other male politicians who’ve been caught with their pants down (literally or figuratively, as the case may be).

And the thing is… people seem… surprised? I guess? At the secret service thing. And I’m really not, at all. Because we hear it all. the. time. It’s more surprising to me when someone in politics isn’t dicking around than when they are. And the same goes for athletes. And let’s not get started on musicians.

But it begs the question… why? Why are so many men so morally bankrupt? There seems to be several alternative answers:

A) Becoming famous and/or powerful makes men feel either entitled or invincible or untouchable in such a way that they no longer feel tied to normal societal mores about faithfulness to one’s spouse and generally not being a total dickhead.

B) Men inclined to be total dickheads, who perhaps have no real morals to speak of in the first place, are drawn to positions of power and fame, and thus those who end up there are disproportionately those who do those sorts of things.

C) Most men are total dickheads and do or would cheat if they could get away with it– but they either don’t have the ability to do so OR are better able to get away with it since they are not in the public eye.

I’m a bit skeptical of C. I do know men who have cheated, I know that it happens. But in my personal life from what I know of my friends, family, etc, it seems to me that most guys are generally good and that the asshats are the except, not the rule. Although perhaps I am naive and they are simply better at getting away with it. But my money is on A or B, or a combination thereof.

Thoughts?

And do we think it will ever be different? Sadly, I don’t. It seems like men have been doing this sort of thing for centuries and there is no real reason to think it will stop any time soon. (Which kind of makes it amazing to me that the gender so completely ruled by a non-thinking part of their anatomy has risen up to essentially control society… you would think women, who I would argue are undeniably more rational as a group, would’ve used this to our advantage over the years to seize power. Although perhaps if women ruled the world we would be just as bad? Food for thought).

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Please excuse this interruption…

I haven’t posted for a week. It is entirely possible I won’t post for another week.

I’m in trial. This week and at least part of next.

Which means court all day. Research at night. And not sleeping that well between because I’m terrified I’ll oversleep and be late.

(Not that it’s all bad. On the plus side– it is kind of nice to have talked to and even seen actual people every day this week!)

I’ll be back when it’s over– hopefully in a fantastic mood from a good verdict.

My addiction…

I love netflix.

It is basically the best invention ever.

When they pulled a kamikaze and decided to double everyone’s subscription fees, we ditched the dvd rental side and stuck with just the instant streaming… which is really what it is best for anyways. I think the thing with netflix is that you have to manage your expectations. It is not the best site to rely on for movies because their selection is sparse and always changing. But for for tv shows? Rocks.

I think if it weren’t for B’s addiction to sports I could be completely content getting rid of cable all together. I like to find a series and watch it exclusively until I finish it. My favorite are series that are already over so that I know I’ll get to see the whole thing start to finish. Once you start using netflix it is kind of hard to switch back to only 13-ish shows per year, right?

Anyways, I’ve about come to the end of the series I had queued and I’m looking for some new material. I thought I’d do a top-10 list of my favorite series in the hopes some of you might give them a try, and maybe you can make some suggestions for me on what to watch next? (Update: Top 14 because I couldn’t cut four more out)

14. How I Met Your Mother- We just started this a few weeks ago. I’ll admit I didn’t really love it at first. The basic premise pisses me off because I know that we’re like 8 seasons in with no mother in sight… but if you can forget what the show is supposed to be about and just enjoy it as a comedy, it’s kind of hilarious.

13. Roseanne- Probably a personal thing… but I freaking love Roseanne. It’s a very nostalgic show for me and I loved watched the whole thing start to finish.

12. Weeds- If this show had quit after the first three seasons, it’d probably be in my top 5. I loooooved the first three seasons, and it has kind of gone steadily down hill from there. But, it is still worth watching in my opinion (even if I do kind of really hate the main character at this point).

11. Mad Men- Who doesn’t love sexist assholes who drink too much, smoke too much, and cheat on their wives? I guess it doesn’t SOUND very good… but it is actually amazing.

10. Medium- Try not to judge me here. I know it is cheesy, but I actually really loved this series. It has a good mix of new crime stories every episode and ongoing story-lines with the main characters and their families.

9. Nip/Tuck- Totally unbelievable and verging on soft-core p-rn, but still that kind of show where you just have.to.know. what happens next. It’s kind of like a soap opera for non-housewives.

8. Roswell- The first display of my obsession with teen drama. I won’t even apologize. Teenagers, aliens, I mean come on– this is quality tv here.

7. Greek- This was a show I hadn’t even heard of prior to netflix. It is about sororities and frats, the kind of thing I’d usually completely skip because there isn’t enough drama. But, for some reason we decided to give it a shot and it was actually great in a completely light-hearted kind of way.

6. Prison Break- I was SO excited to see this on netflix. I began watching it when it first aired, but after the first season I was too busy with law school to ever tune in again. It’s almost a good thing because this show is so intense that I think that watching it all over a few weeks rather than a few years really helps keep you engaged (and also from getting angry at all the freaking cliffhangers!)

5. Sons of Anarchy- B had to talk me into watching this. A motorcycle gang? Meh. But it had enough dude-stuff for him and enough murder and mystery for me that it quickly became one of my favorite shows. We watched the first two seasons in ONE week.

4. Breaking Bad- I loved it. Then I hated it. Then I loved it again. This is another one that is kind of rough if you NEED to like the main character (I usually do). But, the supporting cast is so good that I was able to love this show despite hating the main dude. I can’t wait for the next season to come out!

3. Rescue Me- One of my first netflix series, and still one of my very favorites. My brother always told me how good this show was but it seemed like the kind of thing you needed to start from the beginning. I love Dennis Leary so this was a no-brainer, and it delivered on every level (comedy, drama, family stuff, guys without shirts… it hits all the bases)

2. Friday Night Lights- Football? Me? YES. I don’t even know why I loved this show so much. It is everything that usually annoys me (sports and conservative Texans)… and yet somehow it was still awesome. Awesome enough that it earned the #2 spot on my favorites list.

1. Veronica Mars- I don’t know that I’ve ever been more obsessed with a show than Veronica Mars. I just… want to be her. I don’t think you can like crime shows and be a girl and not LOVE this show because Veronica is just so kick-ass. And even guys love this show! I started watching the first season alone, assuming B would be uninterested. But about 4 or 5 episodes in he happened to be hanging out on his computer one day when I turned it on and he quickly got obsessed too. I kind of hate seeing Kristen Bell in anything else now, she IS Veronica Mars!

So there ya go– my top 14 (random!) favorite Netflix instant streaming series. What am I not watching? Are there any awesome shows I haven’t already seen?

On working from home… wardrobe ed.

Since my law office is so small, I work at home about 95% of the time. Which rocks for a lot of reasons.

But it also means I don’t often have a reason to put on pants. Literally. I go days without seeing anyone but my husband– so yoga pants and a t-shirt are kind of my jam (to my credit, I at least buy cute colorful and fitted v-neck tees, rather than wearing shapeless oversized free logo tshirts).

And then there are days like today, when I had to go into my office for a quick meeting with my boss.

And B gets home and…

B: Wow, you look nice today!
Me: aw, thanks hun!
B: You look all like… professional.
Me: … I’m wearing jeans and a tshirt? (albeit with some lace detail at the neck, but a cotton tee nonetheless)
B: Still, its more dressed up than you’ve been in a while on a weekday! You look nice.
Me: Thanks… I… think…?

On the plus side— my husband has now been conditioned to be impressed by jeans and a detailed cotton t-shirt. Low standards do work to my benefit here considering my general lack of interest in dressing up most of the time.

On the minus side— It’s apparently been a while since I’ve worn clothes on a week day that are about equivalent to my everyday high school wardrobe.

I need to think on this a bit more….

Random Q and A

Stolen from one of my fav home decor blogs, Love and Renovations!

When did you start blogging?
Summer of 2006. My then-boyfriend had been deployed overseas and I was super bored, and had also just discovered blogs existed… so I gave it a try. I’ve had like five blogs I think? But they didn’t usually last very long before I forgot about them. Oops.

What’s your blogging routine?
I’d say a consistent cycle of neglect and guilt…. haha. Only kind of kidding there. I don’t really have any set routine because I have a hard time posting when I don’t have anything to say. My goal, always, is to post about three times per week. Sometimes I forget for a few weeks, or months. Sometimes I post like five times.

What’s the best food you’ve ever eaten?
Wow… that is a super hard question! Mostly because I tend to like really non-impressive food. Like, I’d pick chipotle over a 5 star dinner any night of the week. But if we’re talking about food that stands out in my memory as a one-time experience of awesomeness… I’ll pick these few:
– The cheese dip from Alero in Dupont Circle, DC
– The caprese appetizer from my MOH’s wedding (which was at the St. Regis in Atlanta)
– The tropical dreams ice cream we ate on our honeymoon in Kauai

What kind of travel plans do you have for the rest of 2012?
In May we are headed to NYC for a whirlwind weekend celebrating B’s sister’s graduation from her masters program. In June we’re headed to Rodanthe, NC for a vacation with my parents and brother. Other than that, we have no plans. I’ve sort of lost my wanderlust lately, and with Milo’s ongoing health problems I’m just not that inclined to plan vacations out of those we’re obligated to by family. (Although, we might always sneak a weekend visit to Atlanta in there at some point to see my MOH/her husband– it’s been a yearly tradition for 3 years now and we’d hate to break the streak!).

What’s your favorite thing about the city where you live?
Just one? Call me crazy, but I love Columbus! I guess if I had to pick ONE thing I’d say the layout of the city. I love that Columbus is a real city (in that it has a downtown area, museums, several theaters, concert venues, etc), but it is mostly comprised of suburbs. I like that I can be downtown in 15 minutes, or in corn fields in 10. I like that traffic here, even when it sucks, is never as bad as it was in Cleveland or DC. If I can vote for a runner-up though, I’d say the cost of living. Midwestern housing prices rock.

When someone asks you where you’re from, do you tell them the place you were born, the place you grew up, or the place where you currently live?
Well, the place where I was born and where I grew up is the same– ‘burbs of Cleveland. But as for this question, I’d say it depends on the context. If I’m meeting someone for the first time and I’m out of town– I assume they want to know where I came from. I.e. where I live now. Columbus. But if I’m talking to someone who obviously knows that I live in Columbus and they ask, I assume they meant where I came from before I moved here, and I say Cleveland.

What project are you most proud of?
Strangely enough… I think it might be my faux frosted-glass door project. What I loved about this project is that the outcome was great, it was SUPER cheap to do, and I did it all by myself. My favorite project has probably been the backsplash, but I think I’m most proud of the door since I did that on my own.

What are some of your favorite blogs to read?
I actually don’t read *that* many! At least not compared to people who say they have hundreds of blogs in their reader. I tend to try a lot of blogs but if I don’t find the person writing to be really interesting I get tired of them easily.

My favorite home decor blogs are Young House Love (of course!), and Love and Renovations.

My favorite random life blogs are Joy Unexpected and The Bloggess.

My favorite food blog is Sweetopolita.

My favorite super random blogs are Swistle (all about baby names. Even though I am not planning to become pregnant any time soon. Weird, I know.) and Cooper Beehive (amazing tattoo artist in Brooklyn).

What’s your favorite book?
Oy. Is it a cop out to say… the last one I read? Really every time I read a book that I love, it becomes my favorite until I read another book I love. And this is actually a bit of a sore spot for me right now because I *just* finished reading the Harry Potter series and I’m heart broken that they’re over. Nevertheless, I guess if we’re going to pick a book that I’ve actually read multiple times and continue to love (and assuming it counts as a book even though its a play?) I’ll say A Midsummer Nights Dream.

What are you most looking forward to about this summer?
Hm… as a person who no longer gets summer break, and who actually much prefers winter weather to summer… summer isn’t really as much of a longed-for treat for me as it is for many. But, I guess if I’m going to pinpoint something I’ll say our vacation to NC.

What kind of exercise do you most enjoy?
The kind I don’t have to do? hah. I have never really found exercise that I actually ENJOY doing. Although I did just order a new Zumba for xbox game which is proving to be not-too-bad.

And that’s it! Feel free to answer the questions yourselves on your own blogs, and also— give me suggestions for what to read next! I feel like I’ve read a lot of really good books in the past year (the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, the Hunger Games series, and the Harry Potter series)… I feel like I”m going to go through with withdrawals from awesomely entertaining books!

On being the girl in the boy’s club

I’m not prone to writing thought-provoking society-examining posts (ironic being that I was a sociology major in college), so bear with me if I flounder a bit. Something has been on my mind all day and I want to work it out a bit, on paper (..screen?).

I don’t talk about my job much, but I’ve mentioned that I’m a lawyer. Specifically, a litigator. That means that probably 99% of what I do is centered around getting a case ready for trial or settlement.

I had a meeting in court yesterday morning. I went alone. It was extremely typical, and it went like this:

I arrive and find two lawyers representing one of our opposing parties already waiting. They are both male, one in his late 50s, one in his 30s (clearly the associate helper of the older gentlemen). We wait for the other attorneys to arrive and they do, one each for two other parties. They are both male, and both, I’m guessing, in their 40s. When the judge came in, he was also male, I’d guess also in his 40s.

Pleasantries begin. There is talk of some baseball coach who got suspended for saying something about Cuba, and some other baseball coach (I think?) who got fired because he lied about having a mistress and hiring her or something? Honestly I had heard about these both in passing from B the day before, but I didn’t have any details sufficient to contribute to the conversation in an intelligent way.

The meeting begins. For about an hour we talk business and it goes as well as it was going to, and everyone is perfectly cordial. And then we wrap up and the pleasantries begin again.

One of the attorneys asks the judge about a mural on the wall of the courthouse which leads to a discussion of the French and Indian war. Everyone in the room seems to have a firm grounding in American history and I’m left standing there nodding along— I know nothing about that war. The conversation then turns to the building, and the architecture, and who built it. Again, I don’t know anything about architecture so I nod along.

Finally, mercifully, the men start to file out and I head to the bathroom so I can separate myself from the pack and avoid continued awkward conversation as we all walk out to our cars.

As I said, this is extremely typical. Most meetings begin and end with chit-chat. Lawyering is a social business and lawyers tend to like to at least pretend we’re friends, before we rip each other apart in court. The problem is, the lawyers I come into contact with are, almost exclusively, older men. They have more in common with my father than they do with me.

It isn’t that I don’t want to be social with them, or that I don’t try, it is simply that I never have any idea what the hell anyone else is talking about. My hobbies mostly include reading trashy books, the internet, tv, baking, crafting, and decorating. I do keep up on the news and politics, but out of courtesy to all involved politics is generally off-limits for these sorts of meetings because it’s a bit too “real” for a casual conversation. Which leaves? Sports. Architecture. Stock Market. Seriously— that’s what these meetings always devolve into. And I’m always left standing/sitting there awkwardly. Trying to find that elusive balance between nodding enough that I don’t look bored and yet not so vigorously that they ask my opinion.

Quite frankly, it sucks. It’s really hard being the only woman, ever. It’s also really hard being the youngest person in the room, always. The youngest bit is easily enough explained— I work for a firm small enough that I must, out of necessity, do a lot of actual lawyering. Most firms, however, don’t let litigators actually do a lot of the heavy lifting in a case until they have more experience (and thus are older), than me.

But the lack of women in this industry has been pretty shocking to me. Particularly because that was not the case at all in law school. Thinking back, it seems to me that the class was pretty evenly split between men and women. A few quick google searches confirm that the number of female law school grads is about equal to men.

So why is it that in my fourth year of litigation, I can think of a grand total of four female attorneys I’ve dealt with and the number of men is well beyond counting (I’d guess over a hundred?)? I googled around a bit to see if I could find any statistics on the number of male vs. female litigators, and wasn’t able to find anything nationwide. One study in New York, however, shows that women make up just about 12% of litigators.

Is it that women gravitate towards non-litigation jobs? Those that aren’t quite so confrontational on a daily basis?

Is it that women don’t stay in the practice of law at the same rate as men? (i.e. they may graduate as lawyers but perhaps switch careers or decide to stay home?)

Is it that because most litigators are in their late 30s-60s, the number of men and women graduating from law school might have an effect (if say, 20 years ago the number of women graduating law school was far lower then for men)?

I really don’t know. Maybe all of the above, to some extent? The article above suggests that a part of the problem is that women simply don’t bring in the same number of clients as men. Women don’t “shmooze.”

I can relate– I suck at shmoozing!

But I also think that women on the whole are at a disadvantage when it comes to forming the types of relationships that help make a successful career. If the fact of the situation is that almost all of your interactions are with men, how can we be expected to connect on the same level as men?

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not talking about the kind of “boys club” mentality propagated by men who don’t want to see women succeed. With the exception of one opposing counsel (who I suspect is just an ass to everyone, regardless of gender), I’ve experienced nothing but cordial, if not friendly, behavior from everyone I encounter. But the fact remains, I’m different. I can’t shoot the shit about the game last night, because I didn’t watch it. And I have no interest in architecture. That’s how life goes. I am going to have a lot more in common with a 20-something woman than I am with a 50-something man.

So where does that leave us, as women?

I think, perhaps, it just means we have to work harder. When I got home from my meeting and told B about my day, I told him that the next time I have a meeting I might have to watch sports center with him the night before. And I was only half kidding. It seems a bit silly to me to try to force interests I don’t have in an effort to “fit in,” but I’m not sure that standing out is going to be helpful to me in the long term. And admittedly, I could make a bigger effort to connect with other female attorneys. I’m certain that there are networking events for women lawyers, perhaps even women litigators, in my area. I’ve just not cared enough to attend them. While those women might not be people I come into contact with in my practice, perhaps I need to look outside of those I regularly come into contact with for networking opportunities.

I’m not really sure where I was going with this, except that I felt like it was something that needs to be said. I am in a male dominated industry– and I didn’t know it was going to be like that.

Does anyone else work in a male-domintated field? How have you found ways to cope?

Backsplash is DONE!

First, a quick update on Milo: He came home! We were able to get him Saturday morning and he’s been home with us since. He isn’t quite out of the woods yet, but he certainly seems to be improving, so yay for that!!

Also this weekend, my parents came into town to help out with installing our backsplash. I’m not going to do a how-to post because my hands were too dirty for photos for most of the weekend, and anyways there are a thousand tutorials online (I suggest YHL’s posts, which you can find here).

Here is the kitchen before.

And a few progress photos… Taping up the sheets to plan out our cuts around the outlets.

Spreading Thinset on the walls, and then sticking the sheets up.

Done, but without grout

Grouted, before washing the tiles (is there anything more scary than spreading a cement-like substance over your shiny new tiles?

And done!

I love it!! I love how the tiles seem to change color depending on the time of day. I thought they would read somewhere between clear and sea glass green, but they are actually looking more gray/blue which is a happy accident! I think perhaps they reflect the color off the wall behind them, but regardless, I am loving them. They fit in so well with the rest of the colors in the house and make the kitchen look so much more finished and custom.

This project definitely falls into the “worth the hassle” category. I know that everyone’s situation will be different based on how much space you have to cover, how much experience you have, and what kind of tiles you pick, but this was really not a bad project at all. We spent about 1 hour prepping on Friday (getting everything laid out, outlet covers removed, counters covered), and 5 hours actually installing the tile (including doing all the cutting, which took a long time because we had 6 outlets). It took us about 3 hours on Saturday to grout and wash the tile.

And the total cost for the project? $307. That accounts for 21 sheets of tile, 1 box of grout, and 1 roll of blue painters tape.

Granted, this would’ve cost a bit more if I’d had to buy all the tools (we used 2 buckets, a thin set trowel, a grout trowel, a sponge, and a tile cutter). But I think even those are relatively inexpensive or can be rented. I think even if we’d had to pay for all of that, it still would’ve been very worth it.

Speaking of which, let’s see that before/after one more time…

Yay! (how many times is too many to say “yay” in a post?).

Anyone else do any fun Easter weekend projects?